Club Montana Vista, Salient Design Studio
Spread across a sprawling four acres, and circumventing the Shivalik mountain range, Club Montana Vista, Siliguri,is conceptualised as a clubhouse. Amalgamating hospitality and landscape design, the resort is sited in a humid, sub-tropical climate zone in the picturesque mountain ranges. Centred on the concept of biophilia, the design highlights the human connection with nature – reinforcing the studio’s ideology of creating spaces inspired by nature. The client brief was to create a Vaastu-compliant building consisting of 25 clubrooms not exceeding 50000 square feet in area. The brief also laid emphasis on devising a methodology for reducing operational energy and minimising construction costs.
Set in the backdrop of the Shivalik ranges, the clubhouse greets its patrons with a lush green landscape. Since it had a gorge in the middle, the site divided the land into two distinct levels with six metres of altitude difference. Six distinct building blocks were designed in a cluster planning format to house the unique functional spaces analogous to the hospitality sector. To maintain the natural terrain of the site and retain an organic pattern in the zoning, the building blocks have been placed towards the entrance, i.e. in the front, and the landscaped lawns and gardens at the rear.
The first block from the entrance contains the reception area along with recreational facilities such as the multipurpose hall, a board room, spa, a juice bar and a gymnasium, all planned in a two-floor volume of the building complex.
Adjacent to this is the block which hosts all major kinds of indoor games and the club office. To the back, another block has been placed comprising of devoted space for children to relish and delve into their own range of indoor games. The second level lauds the game of squash along with ancillary functions for the building volume. A circular block with a concentric spatial layout, a bar lounge has been designed with a poolside pavilion and dining hall at the backdrop. This entire cluster creates a possibility for unwinding and enjoying a serene evening, ideal for spending time with family and friends. The transitional spaces in-between have been connected with decks to cherish the green spaces, bond with nature and relish the scenic landscape of the region.
The building block at the extreme right defines the character of the project as it is conceptualised as the clubhouse for the patrons. It has been designed with its all-day-dining Café Montana accommodating a reception, a back office, a business centre along with ancillary functions on the ground level. Besides two lifts, a spiral stairway from the rear end lead to the upper levels which have been delineated with clubrooms and suite rooms.
The adjacent block this in this sequence encompasses the common kitchen in the mid, for both — a banquet hall and the Insignia restaurant planned at the two extremes with a through-and-through passage way along the restaurant which expedites physical connection to the other spaces of pavilion, dining, pool, and clubhouse block on either side, respectively. The exterior has a segregated pre-function room with some greenscape, seamlessly unifying the spaces. Towards the extreme left and right of the plot, parking space has been provided to facilitate easy accessibility throughout the clubhouse.
To have best utilization of the split levels – the buildings are spread over the upper level in a playful manner with only the room block being a high rise. The rest of the blocks are limited to ground and first floor which controls the execution cost considerably. All hospitality areas are clubbed on one side with central kitchen catering to the banquet as well as guest rooms and restaurant. The play area and clubbing facilities are planned in the farther end. Incorporating the principles of Vaastu in the building the tallest block occupies the south west corner of the plot and the lower blocks are on the northern end. The large pool with lilies and the swimming pool are placed in the eastern and northern ends. Together these balance the energies of the area.
The structural components embody the representation of the natural elemental forms, shapes and lines of symmetry right from the façades to the interiors. The fenestration has large rectangular, hemispherical and elliptical punctures, crafting an organic and flexible environment, which extends beyond rigid lines. Light and shadow animate the spaces with warm light creating pools of light, and therefore developing spatial variability, which fosters emotional and intellectual stimulation. A white colour palette has been adopted to accentuate the design of the structure and built form.
A portion of the left rear end of the landscape has been utilised to devise an outdoor kids’ play area, badminton, basketball and lawn tennis courts in gradual succession. The upper level with loosely consolidated earth along the meandering interface and vertical massing evidently expensive for placing the foundation six-metre-deep at the lower level. An approach was adopted for low rise block spread over with the room block acting a retaining wall for the meandering contour. As for the lower level, any kind of construction was prohibited abiding by the local bye-laws.
The landscape area has been developed to facilitate the connection between humans and the nature. The lawns and other green spaces have been extended with the objective of bringing in a biophilic design approach. Building is rendered in subtle natural shades and some glimpses of colors. They are composed with rich mix of trees and shrubs which do very well in the zone. Other finishing materials include local stone, concrete and pebbles available locally. The intent has been to reflect human affinity towards affection and attachment, attraction and beauty, reverence and spirituality, sense of discovery to the ecology and environment. The sculptural and artistic elements in and around the greenscape imbibe the essence of bio-morphism, reflected by the skilful implementation of bio mimicry.